Capitals

Zach Fucale becomes first Capitals goalie to earn shutout in NHL debut

Capitals

Zach Fucale seemed a bit flustered after the Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in Detroit. After all, who wouldn’t have been? 

Fucale, 26, earned a shutout in his NHL debut as the netminder stopped all 21 of the Red Wings’ shots on net. He’s the first goalie in Capitals history to earn a shutout in his NHL debut. 

“This is one of the greatest moments so far in my hockey career,” Fucale said in a postgame interview with NBC Sports Washington on Caps Postgame Live. “What a great defensive game everybody played today. I’m a little bit speechless, guys, I’m sorry. This is happening pretty quickly right now.”

Fucale was given the start as Vitek Vanecek took a maintenance day. With the Capitals scheduled to play in less than 24 hours against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Peter Laviolette and the Capitals gave the net to Fucale.

The Capitals certainly made sure their new netminder was busy in the early going, as the Red Wings tallied 11 shots in the first period. But over the final 40 minutes they only totaled 10, and Fucale turned them all aside. 

Fucale figures to be the backup against the Blue Jackets, with Ilya Samsonov tabbed as the starter. But Fucale has done his best, through at least a game, to prove he belongs in the NHL.

This season, the 2013 second round pick has posted a .933 save percentage with the Hershey Bears in five games. He’s allowed just nine goals. 

 

Fucale has had a long road to the NHL, spending time in the AHL and ECHL since the 2015-16 season with the St. John’s IceCaps. In total, he played for 10 minor league teams since leaving the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but made the first night with his 11th professional team one he and his family will never forget.